Harbor Freight Kayak Trailer Question

Hi, we just purchased and built the Harbor Freight 4x8 trailer to haul kayaks. We can pretty easily strap 3 on their side (mine are 8 and 9 footers). I was planning on just using some foam pool noodles to help with cushion and Cam straps. Does anyone foresee a problem with keeping it simple like this? This is our first time hauling kayaks on a trailer. I know there are hundreds of options for bars and tracks, but trying to keep it easy and economical. Thanks!

How about a minimal improvement?

– Last Updated: Jul-22-16 5:33 PM EST –

Unless the trailer has sidewalls (most of these trailers do not), stacking three kayaks on their sides with nothing but padding beneath them and between them sounds like an arrangement that's just itching for a chance to tip over when the overlying straps are tightened, or later, when the trailer hits a few bumps, and when that happens, all the tie downs will suddenly have a bunch of slack.

If your trailer has sidewalls, go ahead and keep it simple. Lay them in there on their sides, let them tip over as much as available space allows, and strap them down.

If your trailer does not have sidewalls, I would make a framework with four upright pieces which create three "slots" between them, into which the boats will fit when sitting on their sides. One could easily do a good job with 2x4s having triangular plywood reinforcements at the joints. Even a single three-slotted framework would probably work, but I'd make two. This/these could just sit on the trailer with the open ends of the slots pointed upward, or to make the whole works even more stable, they could be bolted to the plywood deck. For just a few bucks, you'd end up with very stable support for your boats, and they wouldn't be reliant upon each other for support.

By the way, with this setup you could just slit your pool noodles and wrap them around the working surface of each piece of the framework, and even tack them to the wood so you don't have to mess with them every time you load up.

I made something similiar to what guideboatguy is describing when I was hauling 4 short yaks in ford ranger bed but I used PVC.

8 “T” fittings and some cut up some pipe to make a dish drain type stand so each kayak stays in place and then strap each one down individually. As GBG says if you strap them together and one shifts they are all loose.

If your trailer has the stake pockets like mine did make a simple sidewall out of some 2x4s and strap the yaks to that.

Do not strap the yaks so tight they dent.

Put painters on your yak use them as bow tie downs so worst case they wind up dragging behind instead of tumbling thru traffic.

For future, I saw a set up once 4x8 equipment box 2 ft tall with a set of crossbars and J cradles on top.


1x4 ‘select’

– Last Updated: Jul-22-16 6:21 PM EST –

is use able. Needs drying: lay 1x4 on edges clamp together n sticker ends n middle. 1" sides down.

If compulsive paint ends with linseed.

vertical frames are bottom bolted to 2x4 bolted to bed/rails. Frames assembled with lath screws. Drill pilot hole, electric drill screw in.

When yaks are inside frames, screw down 3 transverse top 1x ...with lath screws.

Mount a diagonal brace of the trailer running to top, 2 diagonals front n rear frames, alternate sides. Chop the front n rears up to fit yak ends

String LED to top rear 1x

fab an airfoil to front


foam blocks

I use a similar utility trailer and mounted some simple side rails and then thick foam blocks over some 2x4’s laid on side. I also mounted some eyebolts to give more places to tie off to.

It works pretty well for me, although I think the impact delivered to the boat hull from bumps on the road is higher than I am comfortable with. My plastic boat is fine, but my new composite boat I fear will crack if I run over a pothole.


Plus 1 on the eyebolts
I used 3/4" plywood on the deck and put eyebolts through it.

pool noodles–not.
I would recommend finding something better than pool noodles for padding because the noodles compress and are not resilient. I would look for blocks of foam rubber, or closed cell foam.

I pad the bunks on my trailer with carpet underlayment padding covered with plush carpet. I have even used inflatable boat fenders to cushion kayaks.

I agree
Not resilient, also the ones I used, started shredding when going over 70 mph. tkamd

the problem with Harbor Freight is
that they are the Dollar Stores of tools.

You get what you pay for and so long as you remain in town or on slow roads, you should be ok.

BUT, they do NOT have freeway bearings so will burn out at high speeds.

Nor are they designed for heavy loads so be certain to NOT overload them.

I took a motorcycle trailer and converted it to a kayak trailer and had no problems until I followed it down the road one day as it was pulled by another car. That thing looked like an inverted pyramid and I wonder why I never got a ticket or rolled my load.

Finally, I spent $1069 and got a Malone micro-sport that modified easily and does everything I need from freeway to rough roads to hauling 5 boats plus gear.

don’t do what I did
I tried using minicell pipe insulation but it didn’t hold up well at all. I second the foam blocks.

Only rated for 3/4 ton at 55 mph